The ultrastructural features of the principal cell in the epididymal epithelium of the monkey epididymis are suggestive of the cell carrying out a dual function of absorption and secretion. Both these functions occur on the luminal surface of the cell as well as on the lateral and basal aspects of the cell which face the intercellular spaces. Transmision Electron Microscopic studies of epididymal tissues following their impregnation with lanthanum nitrate indicated that the intercellular spaces are effectively sealed-off from the luminal space by the apically situated tight junctions between adjoining principal cells. The intercellular spaces are contiguous with the perivascular spaces of the subepithelial blood capillaries. It is suggested that the absorptive and secretory functions occuring on the apical surface of cells may be related to the creation of an appropriate intraluminal milieu for the maturation of spermatozoa while the occurrence of these functions in the intercellular spaces may represent an exchange of substances between the principal cells and the subepithelial capillaries.
Volume 44 | Issue 6
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